Belfast Telegraph

Taxi driver accused of whipping up rioters in Bogside is released on bail

By George Jackson

A taxi driver arrested during public disorder in Londonderry on Monday has been released on bail.

Paul McIntyre (50), from Ballymagowan Park in Creggan, is charged with intentionally assisting or encouraging people to take part in a previous riot, on May 28.

He appeared before Derry Magistrates Court sitting in Omagh yesterday.

A PSNI officer told Deputy District Judge Paul Conway that the charge was linked to a police operation, carried out on behalf of the Coroner's Office, following the sudden death of a woman in her home in Rossville Street in the Bogside on May 28.

During the operation police officers were attacked.

The defendant was further charged with breaching a previously imposed court order for other matters, also on May 28, by entering within 500m of an ongoing police operation.

He denies both offences.

The police officer said that on the night of May 28 the defendant was seen opening the boot of his car and handing over an item or items to masked youths and gesturing to them to become involved in rioting.

She said the defendant was arrested on Monday night during ongoing disturbances in the Lecky Road area.

The police witness said she believed, if released on bail, the defendant would reoffend as tensions in the community were currently running high. She said the violence had been ongoing since last Sunday night.

Applying for bail, defence solicitor Paddy MacDermott said the police have had numerous opportunities to arrest the defendant since May, having been stopped and searched four times.

Mr MacDermott said the defendant denied it was him on a police video recording of a man seen handing items to the group of masked youths. He said the defendant knew the identity of the man, but would not name him.

Mr MacDermott said the defendant was already on the police radar and the issue in the case was one of identity.

The Deputy District Judge said he found it hard to believe that the police were seeking to have the defendant remanded in custody when they themselves had several opportunities to arrest him over the last six weeks, including during several subsequent court appearances.

"Surely he should have been flagged up on the police system. With some reservation, I am releasing him on bail because the risk of reoffending cannot be substantiated if the police do not actively bring him before the court," Mr Conway said.

The defendant was released on his own bail of £750 to attend court again on July 25. As part of his bail conditions he is banned from entering within 500m of an ongoing police operation and he must observe a 9pm to 6am curfew. He will also be electronically monitored.

Belfast Telegraph

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